Is monetary political contributions the same as speech?

I’ve been having a hard time with this lately - money donated to SuperPACs and doing independent expenditures obviously have a negative effect on politics in the US but I have a hard time expressing that it isn’t the same as expressing your dissatisfaction with the government or educating the public about the issue. It seems practically the exact same as political speech which shouldn’t be limited or hindered.

I would say no. Giving money to a campaign in exchange for anything (which many corporations do) is just bribery. We need to get big money out of elections.

We did this just 2 months ago, FYI.

If money is speech, and speech is money…

That’s an interesting view. What do you call it when the candidates rely on small money, and in exchange offer free health care and free college educations?



Speech is rational thought, expressed verbally, with the intention of persuading or influencing the mind of another.

Big money is boodle intended to buy the influence of another.

Just my 2.1 million cents.

Let me make a guess here.

When the Koch Brothers donate money this is a bad thing and we need to limit it
When George Soros donates money this is good, and wow, we sure would use more of that.

Am i reading between the lines correctly ?

Obviously? Well poisoning is obvious. The negative effect not so much.

Depending on which party is in ascendance, campaign contributions can be majority Republican or majority Democrat, but neither side gets more than the other when you compare ascendant peaks, and the primary contributors are not the same groups. On the D side, it’s mostly unions. On the R side, it’s mostly businesses.

Ergo, non-issue.

The complaint isn’t so much that it favors one party over the other, but that it favors immensely rich corporations, who can buy legislation favorable to them, contrary to the interests of the populace.

Ergo…big issue.

And who are the enemies of big corporations? Unions. Who is the proponent of the general populace? Unions. Who gives as much money to politicians as big business? Unions.

Money is a resource used to pay for the press and its equivalents.

Actually I think you will find that most people who are in favor of limits on campaign finance also want Soros out of the picture. Nice strawman though.

Great, get unions out of the campaign finance game too. I got no problem with that. The problem is since businesses spend the big bucks, Unions have to try to keep up. Having them spend less money trying to get Democrats elected might have the advantage of making them less of a target for Republicans, and would leave more union dues available for assisting their members directly.

One of the main arguments that Republicans use to try to dismantle the unions is that union members should not be forced to make political contribution to indirectly to political activities (and yet there is no requirement that every stock holder agree before a corporation spends money to influence a campaign.) Again, getting union money out of the campaign finance game would eviscerate this argument.

Unions should influence campaigns the democratic way, but getting their members out to the polls to vote in their best interests.

Money Is Speech.
War Is Peace.
Freedom Is Slavery.
Ignorance Is Strength.

We (and presumably politicians) know that campaign expenditures have very little effect on who wins, so I don’t think that it’s worth worrying that politicians are being bought. And, realistically, the money coming from businesses is also coming from the general public/work force. So really, all you’re saying is that you want to cap campaign spending, since it’s just a waste of money.

On that basis - that campaign contributions/expenditures are a waste of resources - I’d get behind the idea of doing something.

But, for most people, there’s some view that politicians are being bought and sold and aren’t beholden to the people. On the whole, research into that question has demonstrated it to not be true. So anyone out there who believes otherwise, then no, that’s not an argument that matches reality.

Let’s say that Hugh Jass is running for office. I surely have a First Amendment right to criticize Mr. Jass. And if I have some money, I surely have a First Amendment right to spend it on TV commercials, pamphlets, and so forth that criticize Mr. Jass. And if I have several friends that agree with me, we surely have the right to pool our money and work together to spend it criticizing Mr. Jass. And that’s the basis of political contributions: people can get together, pool their money, and work towards a political goal with that money.

The general issue at hand is that individuals should have protections for free speech but Super PAC’s (and wherever they get their money from) should be considered a distinct speech-making entity with necessary limits.

If you go too far, then causes that require aggregate money to spread their message become stifled. That’s actually bad for our democracy as well.

Sure, but the concern with Super PAC’s is that you aren’t consolidating private donations from individuals wishing to express their advocacy for a cause. The largest Super PAC’s are taking money from large corporations–which may lead to a “drowning out” of the advocacy of us, the actual “people.”

Isn’t a corporation just a bunch of people who work together? I don’t see the difference between Sierra Club and Exxon. They are both just a bunch of people working together. If it is okay for one to advocate for a cause why is it not okay for the other one?